Phylogenetic relationships of a new genus and species of stevardiine fish (Characiformes: Characidae: Stevardiinae) from the Río Amazonas basin, Peru

James A. Vanegas-Ríos, Dario R. Faustino-Fuster, Vanessa Meza-Vargas, Hernán Ortega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Varicharax nigrolineatus, a new genus and species of stevardiine fish, is described from the Río Amazonas basin, Peru, based on a comprehensive phylogenetic comparison with other characids. Two data sets (A: combined morphological and molecular matrix, 474 species and 6,653 characters; B: morphological matrix, 216 species and 524 characters) were used to estimate the phylogenetic relationships of the new genus. Morphological and molecular data from these data sets were taken from two previously published matrices on characids. Varicharax nigrolineatus is phylogenetically diagnosed by 18 autapomorphies in total (from both data sets), which are related to different anatomical characteristics of the neurocranium, body, and fins. Furthermore, V. nigrolineatus can be easily differentiated from all characids (except Acrobrycon in part) by the following combination of characters: the presence of a hypertrophied caudal-fin squamation on the lower caudal-fin lobe forming a remarkable pouch-like structure, consisting of multiple series of large adjacent scales (being almost similar or slightly more pronounced in males than in females), the presence of caudal-fin bony hooks on the lower lobe in adult males, complete lateral line, and a dark mid-lateral stripe that extends from the posterior border of the head to caudal peduncle. In the resulting topologies from both data sets, the phylogenetic placement of V. nigrolineatus was well supported within Stevardiinae. Additionally, V. nigrolineatus was resolved within the tribe Stevardiini as sister group of a clade formed by Chrysobrycon + Pseudocorynopoma and Corynopoma + Gephyrocharax in the final hypothesis from the combined data set, whereas in the final topology from the morphological data set, V. nigrolineatus was placed as sister group of a clade comprised of Acrobrycon and the Stevardiini without Argopleura.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-407
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Blackwell Verlag GmbH


  • Neotropical freshwater fish
  • Stevardiini
  • Varicharax gen. nov.
  • Varicharax nigrolineatus sp. nov.
  • sexual dimorphism


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